A product liability claim can have a catastrophic impact on your business. An adverse result could not only result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in liability or more, but it will also have an impact on your brand and your reputation. In short, the outcome of a product liability claim could threaten your business’s future. Welsh & Recker represents both domestic and foreign corporations who are facing product liability claims, helping them reach a fair outcome quickly and cost-effectively.
The Challenge Presented by Product Liability Claims
Product liability claims are judged on a strict liability basis. This means that the plaintiff does not need to prove negligence. However, if they can prove the product was “defective,” they are entitled to judgment in their favor. Conversely, it will not matter that you have extensive quality control measures in place, have heavily invested in testing, or have established other protocols to prevent defective products from getting into the hands of consumers. The entire case will turn on whether or not your product can be deemed “defective.”
What is a Defective Product in a Product Liability Case?
In the context of a product liability case, “defective” does not mean the product is broken. Instead, a product is considered defective when it presents an unreasonable risk of injury to consumers when used in its intended manner. Generally speaking, a product can be defective in one of three ways:
- Design defects – when the product is dangerous due to the way it was designed. These are defects that render the product inherently dangerous. An example of a design defect would be an SUV that is designed with a narrow wheelbase and a high center of gravity, making it prone to rollover accidents at even low speeds.
- Manufacturing defects – mistakes or impurities that are caused in the manufacturing process. These defects may affect only single products or batches of products but do not mean the product is inherently unsafe. An example of a manufacturing defect would be a batch of sunscreen that became accidentally contaminated with benzene.
- Labeling or warning defects – inadequate instructions or safety labels instructing consumers how to use the product safely or how to avoid injury. An example of a labeling defect would be a children’s toy that does not include choking hazard labels.
It is not uncommon for product liability claims to claim that the product was defective in numerous ways. For example, a plaintiff may claim that the toy’s packaging not only lacked choking hazard warnings but that the toy was unsafe by design.
When faced with a product liability claim, the first thing we do is thoroughly investigate the facts and circumstances of the case against you. We then assess the validity of the claim and your potential liability exposure. From there, we work through your options and develop an aggressive legal strategy focused on reaching the best resolution. Sometimes this means negotiating a settlement, and sometimes this means aggressively defending you all the way through trial.